The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Childhood Physical Activity: Insight into Canadian Children’s Experiences
Research on the impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on physical activity in Canadian children is mounting. The objective of this study was to describe children’s physical activity within the first four months of the pandemic using quantitative and qualitative methods. Sixteen children aged 10 to 13 years and 11 parents (six parent-child dyads and four parent-child-child triads) participated in this study. Data sources included demographic surveys, seven-day physical activity journals, and separate child and parent interviews. The children demonstrated a strong preference for play-based physical activity, which most often occurred with others (i.e., coactivity). The children’s seven-day physical activity journals revealed that adherence to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s (CSEP) recommendation for 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was below pre-pandemic provincial levels. According to the children and their parents, reduced physical activity was largely due to limited opportunities for play-based coactivity as a result of public health restrictions.
Keywords: Childhood physical activity; coactivity; COVID-19; public health restrictions
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